Football season kicks off in September, which means you'll spend many a Sunday rocking your team's gear, cheering them on to victory, and tailgating while doing so. Bring your A-game to the parking lot this year with this strong lineup of tailgating recipes guaranteed to impress your guests all season long.
Serve up game day staples like burgers, hot dogs, and meat skewers, each with their own unique twist. Switch out burger patties for juicy sirloin steak and upgrade your dogs with sweet and spicy bratwursts. Try skewers stacked with lemon pepper chicken, grilled fajita vegetables, or even barramundi fish. Get a double dose of comfort food when mac and cheese get infused with Sloppy Joe goodness. Remix your classic wings with a funky egg roll variation and turn your all-American cheesesteaks into chicken steaks for something deliciously different.
This roundup of tailgate-friendly recipes is sure to take your next gathering to gourmet levels. Each and every dish promises an extra kick of flavor and creativity, and is easily washed down by a swig of your favorite game day brew. With plenty of make-ahead options, you'll be able to pull double duty as impeccable hostess and number one fan. So get to cooking these delectable dishes, and ensure guests never go hungry again while watching the game.
1. Zucchini Parmesan Crisps
These addictive delights by Damn Delicious serve as a healthier alternative to the potato chip that's just as satisfyingly crunchy. Just fry them until their golden-brown crust is crisp perfection, then get ready to serve up a big batch because they're guaranteed to disappear.
2. Baked Mini Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls with Blue Cheese Sauce
Wing-lovers will rejoice over this funky alternative to the football day staple. Cooking For Keeps puts a spin on the classic buffalo chicken wing with this delectable egg roll variation. Consider it a slightly less messy bite-sized option that's still just as dunkable without the worry of the bone.
3. Grilled Lemon Pepper Chicken Kebabs
A tailgate isn't complete without kebabs, and A Farm Girl Dabbles serves up a light zesty option that balances the heavier dishes in the line up. The colorful concoction is pretty to look at and tasty to eat, and can be prepared hours before you're ready to grill.
4. Bacon Beer Cheese Dip
Get an additional beer fix on game day with this mouthwatering dip from Foodie Crush. This savory, gooey dip boasts bacon, hot sauce, mustard, and plenty of beer.
5. Cheddar Tailgating Bread
How Sweet It Is knows it's hard to go wrong with bread, butter, and cheese, and this decadent number is the perfect example. Perfect for guests to grab and gobble, this layered beauty is sure to please.
6. Grilled Fajita Vegetable Skewers
Get your greens on game day with this rainbow skewer option by A Spicy Perspective. Stacking up big chunks of delicious veggies charred to the perfect amount of smokey flavor, these skewers provide a much-needed break from all the meat, and are an easy way to get your daily serving.
7. Sloppy Joe Mac and Cheese
While the players are warming up on the field, warm up your guests with a generous serving of this comfort food by Taste & Tell. Combining the feel-good wonders of Sloppy Joes and mac and cheese, this hearty dish is sure to satiate everyone's appetites.
8. Baked Chilaquiles with Chorizo and Eggs
Head south of the border with this festive number by Cooking For Keeps. Cracked eggs top chorizo, tortillas, and enchilada sauce for a pan full of flavor.
9. Crock-Pot Mexican Chili Lime Chicken
For another crowd-pleasing Mexican dish, try this Crock-Pot recipe from Half Baked Harvest. Prep in the morning and enjoy hot at the tailgate, with a hefty side of guac.
10. Shrimp Boil Foil Packets
These make-ahead foil packets by Damn Delicious will save you from unneccessary stress come game day and the results are downright delectable. Shrimp, andouille sausage, corn on the cob, and baby red potatoes are packed together, then cooked and devoured, with zero cleanup.
11. Grilled Steak Tacos
Go classic with grilled steak tacos, presented in a make-your-own taco bar. The recipe by Foodie Crush calls for flat iron steak and sliced avocado, chopped tomato, onion, and cilantro leaves as desired.
12. Sweet Black Pepper Bratwursts
Upgrade your hot dog game with these sweet and spicy sausages by Food Fanatic. The bratwursts are bursting with tons of flavor — from savory, to spicy, to sweet — and pair beautifully with bell peppers.
13. Spicy Mini Meatball Grilled Cheese
Meatballs are a tailgating favorite, but switch it up with this cheesy sandwich version by How Sweet It Is. Loaded with goodness and grilled to perfection, these grilled cheese beauties aim to please.
14. Marinated Grilled Flank Steak
How Sweet It Is calls on you to serve up some juicy flank steak accompanied by an array of gourmet toppings. You'll be winning at tailgating and have guests speechless (or at least have their mouths full).
15. Moroccan Fish Skewers
Switch up your classic meat and veggie skewers for this fun fish variety by Jelly Toast. These barramundi concoctions are best served over a bed of couscous with a hefty dollop of cool mint yogurt sauce.
16. Chipotle Pulled Pork with Apple Slaw
This comfort food recipe by Cookies & Cups hits the spot juxtaposing juicy meat and crisp apple slaw. Perfect for making ahead, the sweet and spicy number is best served with a dousing of Tabasco come tailgate time.
17. Caramel Apple Grilled Cheese
This unique melange by How Sweet It Is is part lunch, part dessert. The grilled fruit and cheese sandwich simultaneously satisfies your sweet and savory cravings and is also full of that fall flavor we crave.
18. Spicy Shrimp Skewers
These bite-sized babies by Steamy Kitchen make for the perfect hors d'oeuvres, spiced up by chili paste and invigorated by fresh lime juice.
19. Sirloin Steak Burgers with Horseradish Sauce
This is no ordinary sandwich. This stacked number by Foodie Crush boasts layer upon layer of sirloin steak, thick cuts of pickle, onions, and a liberal dose of horseradish sauce.
20. Chicken Cheesesteaks
Or go the cheesesteak route with this failproof chicken variation by How Sweet It Is. Shredded chicken thighs bathe in heavenly melted sharp white cheddar cheese for a lighter twist to the American staple.
21. Spicy Sausage Dip
Climbing Grier Mountain serves up another fun dip option brimming with cheese and spicy sausage. Let guests dip tortilla chips into all its melted glory, straight from the pan.
22. Caramel Apple Hand Pies
Satisfy any sweet teeth in attendance with these autumnally appropriate hand pies by Simply Scratch.
Images: How Sweet It Is (5), Damn Delicious (2), Cooking For Keeps (2), A Farm Girl Dabbles, Foodie Crush (3), A Spicy Perspective, Taste & Tell, Half Baked Harvest, Food Fanatic, Jelly Toast, Cookies & Cups, Steamy Kitchen, Climbing Grier Mountain, Simply Scratch